The recent announcement that the driveway providing access to and egress from the Willy Street Co-op via Jenifer Street will remain open, despite the completion of construction on Williamson Street, is just the latest chapter in a saga that has included an online petition, yard signs, online snark and plenty of commentary about the "narcissism of small differences" among neighbors on Madison's near-east side.
But it has also led to the creation of a hilarious piece of online satire in the form of a Facebook group called The Co-op Driveway Stole my Jacket. Over the past couple days, as Madisonians sought out cool spaces and restful distractions to avoid heat stroke, hundreds of contributors have added their own lists of crimes attributed to the driveway, including several that will provoke chuckles from loyal Co-op patrons.
"The coop driveway wanted to redeem its bike benefits, but it forgot its helmet in the car and was distraught to find it lost its place in line by the time it returned," writes Daun Johnstone, invoking an extremely inside joke to anyone who reads the Co-op's monthly newsletter.
Others reference more general themes. "The co-op driveway was totally talking shit about you yesterday at the bar," writes Lyndsey Betty. "Every time the co-op driveway and I do 'Islands in the Stream' at karaoke, it makes me be Kenny Rogers," adds Ashley Hohn. And my favorite, from Kia Karlen: "I saw the Co-op driveway chatting up the Jenifer Street Market driveway at the Weary last night. Poor stupid, sweet, naive Jenifer Street Market driveway."
Megan Marsh-McGlone, who created the group as "A place to tell the world about all the horrible things the back driveway at the Willy St. Co-op has done," answered a few questions about it on Thursday morning.
The Daily Page: The Willy Street Co-op Driveway is certainly of significant interest, but many will be surprised to learn that it's engaged in activities like stealing jackets, failing to deliver on promised ponies and Blackberrying at Iron Maiden concerts. What pushed you to create a group dedicated to unearthing these truths on Facebook?
Megan Marsh-McGlone: When I created the group, I just invited a couple of friends with whom I had been recently discussing the co-op Reader's customer comments -- my colleague was actually the one to suggest that the driveway was the likely culprit who stole the jacket. I didn't think it would go much further than our small group, but I've since learned that there are a lot of people with grievances against the driveway.
Why do you think the Co-op driveway is so intensely despised?
There's not one single answer to that question. The Co-op driveway is causing people a lot of pain and fear for the future. You'll have to read the testimonies of the hundreds of brave individuals posting in the group, from the driveway continuing to demand to see Obama's birth certificate, lingering for way too long at people's cubicles and leaving their kittens out in the rain, to making out with people and then never calling them again, and spending a month abroad and now suddenly having a British accent... there is a lot of resentment, and lots of hurt feelings.
When you create a Facebook group like this, how much time do you spend monitoring it and what's your overall reaction to what you've seen posted there?
As the admin, I add people who ask to join, but I don't really do anything to "monitor" it otherwise.If I've learned anything from this, it's that the group doesn't need to be monitored, the driveway does.
So, I Googled you and your LinkedIn page says you're a Graduate Project Assistant in Molecular Biology/Genetics and a PhD student in Theatre Research. That's quite a combination. Do you plan to use your knowledge for good or evil?
It may surprise people to hear that Theatre Research isn't as well funded as the sciences, but it's true. I do my PA to pay my tuition, not because I'm a scientist. But to answer your question, I plan to use my combined knowledge from these two fields to save the world through the strategic use of performance art.
Do you think you'll ever see that jacket again?
Someone in the group recently reported that the driveway returned the jacket (with tar stains) to customer service. So who knows? It's young... there might be hope for the driveway after all.